Guest post by Amanda Overend, Founder of Books & Pieces
Returning to work after maternity leave, or getting back into the saddle after a child-enforced career break, can be tough for all the family.
Having so far spent their lives with mummy at their beck and call, little ones can find it hard adapting to a childcare setting without you; there are loads of children packed into one room, lots of noise, a different routine, different toys, new rules and strange adults to get used to.
And it’s hard for mums too – leaving a crying, unhappy or reluctant child at nursery or preschool is heart-breaking, and not the best way to mentally prepare for your working day.
I returned to work after each of my three little monkeys were born, and we’ve had to navigate moving childcare settings several times too. It hasn’t always been easy, but helping your child understand why they go to childcare, reinforcing the fun they will have, and reassuring them you’ll be back to collect them at the end of the day or session is so important to help the transition.
Books can play a really important role in helping your little people prepare. If you’re a mum returning to work, or putting your little one into childcare for the first time, here are seven stories you should definitely check out…
by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson
A classic tale that’s loved by nursery workers who regularly use it to reassure little ones their parents will be back to collect them. Three baby owls wake up one night to find their mummy gone. They sit together and wonder where she could have gone – is she out hunting or has she got lost? But before they know it, she’s back: “What’s all the fuss about,” she says. “You knew I’d come back!” This simple, repetitive story is even suitable for very young children.
My Mummy is Magic
by Dawn Richards and Jane Massey
I love this story for the positive message it shares about working mums: “I think my mummy’s magic – and everybody knows. They need my mummy’s magic, and so off to work she goes. There are times I really miss her, and I wish that she would stay…but just like magic soon she’s back, as though she never went away!” My Mummy is Magic is a lovely rhyming celebration of everything mums do for their little people.
by Christopher MacGregor and Emma Yarlett
This is such a brilliant story for mummies who work away from home. Another rhyming tale, it’s got some excellent strategies to help your little ones manage without you around – from making keepsakes and helping you pack, to putting jelly beans in a jar and eating one each day until you’re home, and staying in contact online. It talks about the fun the children have with daddy and tells them to talk to loved ones if they’re feeling sad about mummy being away. It’s such a lovely book that I get teary just reading it!
Mummy Goes to Work
by Kes Gray and David Milgrim
A simple story about a boy whose mummy goes to work (I guess the title gave that one away!). Even though his mummy’s at work, the little boy knows she thinks about him all the time and would rather be playing with him. When she does come home they have so much fun together that he can’t wait for the next day mummy goes to work so they can have all that fun all over again.
Lulu Loves Nursery
by Camilla Reid and Ailie Busby
This is a brilliant book that deals with some of the emotions little people will feel before they start nursery, as well as showing them the fun they will have. Lulu is a tiny bit worried because it’s her first day at nursery and she’s going to have to say goodbye to her mummy for a while. She’s feeling a bit shy and she really doesn’t want her mummy to go. But her mummy tells her she loves her and promises she’ll be back so Lulu decides to be brave. She’s soon having lots of fun and making new friends and can’t wait to go back the next day.
Maisy Goes to Nursery
by Lucy Cousins
If you like Maisy books and don’t already have this in your arsenal, then you should definitely invest! If you haven’t met Maisy before, the series covers so many of the experiences you’re likely to have with your little people, and the quirky, bold illustrations make them such a big hit. Follow Maisy’s day at nursery, from putting her coat on her very own peg, to snack time, nap time, story time, noisy time, and going home time – it’s a great way to help little ones find out what to expect on a typical nursery day.
Goat Goes to Playgroup
by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt
We’re huge fans of this series of books (that also includes Toddle Waddle, Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose, Hippo has a Hat and Mole Digging a Hole). Goat Goes to Playgroup is such a simple story that appeals to the youngest of children thanks to its bright pictures and silly rhymes. Find out what clumsy goat and his friends get up to at preschool, and be reassured that mummy will be back at the end of the day.
Do you have any books to add to the list?
About Amanda Overend
Amanda is owner of online children’s bookstore Books & Pieces. She specialises in sourcing quality books for 0-6 year olds which she sells on her 3 for £10 deal. She lives in Leicestershire with her three little boys (and one big one!).